“Vanilla colored flannel sheets.  I’d been walking around downtown Manhattan in the dead of night for one hour? Two hours? Hours.  Chilled to the bone, I actually ran home.  Subway door to front door, I ran.  I ripped away my clothing and dove into my bed.

I thought the flannel would make me warmer, but it only insulated the cold.  I shivered.  The conversation from out of doors was brought indoors.  While it artificially warmed my heart, my body remained frozen.  I should have drawn a meaning line from that to this.”

I wrote those words in February and never finished my thought(s).  It was one of those evenings where I could just feel it was filled with promise before the sun was close to setting.

After-work work obligations took me through the early hours of the evening and I knew before I even left the party that I was going to be headed to new territory.  We met in a bar in a neighborhood I’d never been and can’t remember.  Like most NYC bars that classify themselves as trendy, it was lowly lit and too loud; the cocktails too expensive and just strong enough.

You talked and I pretended to listen.  Frankly, I couldn’t hear most of what you said but it clearly didn’t matter.  We were talking with our body language instead.  We left after two drinks? Three?  And then we walked.  Walked.  I wore a skirt, tights, flats.  For a Buffalo girl, I should have been used to the chill, but I wasn’t.

The chill slipped its icy fingers through my flesh and into my bones.  Twinkling lights from churches and rooms with no one in them lit our way.  As we passed the gated church, I resisted the urge to reach out and see if the garden gate was as locked as it seemed to be.  I wanted to go in.  I wanted my surroundings to be as quiet as the conversation we were having.  We walked to your building and you made up reasons why I couldn’t come up.  It didn’t bother me.  We turned and retraced our steps, finding our way to my subway stop. I was frozen to the core but I didn’t want to the night to end.

It didn’t.  I dove into those vanilla sheets and fought the icy chill of the evening.  I was losing the battle.   What I remember from that evening is how it felt.  Those sheets on my frozen flesh, the chill that I couldn’t shake, the satisfaction of my small victory, the thrill of a conversation held in the dark.  Thrills are cheap.  Thrills don’t last. Thrills fade, just like an icy chill.  They fade.

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